BENICIA, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Benicia is trying a new tactic to convince people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They are offering young people their choice of a free pizza if they get vaccinated.
"This is a grant through our city economic development office partnering with five pizzerias. We asked the pizza places to pass out flyers to get out the word of this event," said Maurio Giuliani, Benicia's Deputy City Manager.
"We were very excited to see the sharing on social media," Giuliani said. "The pizza flier got more attention than the basic 'we have the vaccine' flier."
City officials realized they needed to get creative when they first opened up appointments to 16 to 24-year-olds and only 10 people signed up.
As of Wednesday morning, that number jumped significantly.
"It is at 150 right now," Giuliani said. "We had less than 10 after the first nearly 48 hours, so we know their grabbed attention and got folks to register because of it."
17-year-old Harjot Saini admitted the promotion worked on her. Her family is all vaccinated, her dad is a doctor, but she still wasn't motivated to get the vaccine -- Until she heard about pizza.
"I think half of my decision was based on the pizza if I am being honest," she said, laughing, after getting the shot Wednesday.
City employee Teri Davena had the fun job Wednesday of asking young people which restaurant they wanted to go to for pizza.
"When they come back in two weeks for their second dose, we will have a $25 gift card waiting for them to thank them for getting their vaccine," Davena said.
City officials say reaching this segment of the population is important so the county can reopen its businesses.
"Solano County is the only county still in the red tier and part of the reason is our young people," Giuliani said, referring to the case numbers the county health department is tracking.
City officials also plan to take the vaccines to the high school.
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